In the early afternoon of August 19th, 1845, a ferocious tornado formed near Rouen, France and followed the path of the Cailly river towards Montville (Seine-Maritime) and beyond. The tornado cut and knocked down trees and leveled a number of mills in the industrial valley. More than 300 workers were buried beneath the rubble; 60 people were killed outright, and of the 170 injured people, 15 died later due to the effects of their wounds.
The front face of the obelisk is inscribed with the following words:
A LA MÉMOIRE DES VICTIMES DE LA TROMBE DU 19 AOUT 1845.
PRIEZ DIEU POUR LE REPOS DE LEURS ÂMES.
Translated: In memory of the victims of the tornado of 19th August 1845. Pray to God that their souls rest in peace.
A plaque at the front of this memorial provides visitors with information about the disaster in various languages and an old photograph of the monument, which shows that it was once adorned with a cross.